May 3, 2016 by

10-Year-Old White-Hat Hacks Instagram

A 10-year-old, who isn’t old enough to sign up on Facebook has hacked Instagram, the popular image-sharing application owned by the social media giant. More specifically, he found a vulnerability, as a white-hat hacker and Facebook awarded him a bug bounty of $10,000.

A 10-year-old from Finland who discovered a flaw in Instagram is now the youngest ever recipient of a bug bounty awarded by Facebook.

The youngster, Jani, was awarded $10,000 by Facebook for uncovering a vulnerability that allowed him to delete any comment on the popular photo sharing application, according to Forbes.

The youngster discovered that he could tap into Instagram servers to alter code, enabling him to delete users’ words and comments. Speaking to Finnish publication Iltalehti, Jani said, “I would have been able to eliminate anyone, even Justin Beiber.”

Facebook even verified Jani’s report by deleting a comment that the company had posted on a test account. Speaking to the publication, a spokesperson for the social media giant revealed that the bug was patched in February 2016, with the $10,000 reward handed to Jani in March.

Specifically, the vulnerability lay in the way a private application programming interface (the code allowing certain outside access) that wasn’t entirely doing its job the right way. Tasked with checking to see if the person who was deleting the comment or text was the same person who posted it, the interface had a bug, which Jani discovered.

Related read: Instagram Adds Two-Factor Authentication

Altogether, Facebook’s bug bounty program has seen over $4.3 million awarded to over 800 researchers around the world. In 2015, Facebook paid $936,000 to 210 researchers for a total of 526 reports. American and European white hats have submitted the most number of hacks while Indian researchers have discovered more bugs than any other nationality.

Which brings the focus back to Jani, a young tech-wiz who aspires to be in cybersecurity one day.

“It would be my dream job. Security is really important,” Jani said.

The 10-year-old is also spending his well-earned cash on a new bicycle and a football.

Image credit: Pexels.

About the author

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LIFARS is the global leader in Digital Forensics and Cyber Resiliency Services. Our experience spans two decades working on high profile events, often in concert with Law Enforcement Agencies around the world. Our proprietary methodology derives directly and indirectly from our experience working with and for U.S. Intelligence Agencies, Interpol, Europol, and NATO. We are solely dedicated to Cyber Resiliency and thus pay close attention to all aspects of our clients’ engagements experience while providing a strategic and integrated array of services to minimum risk and disruption while protecting your brand.

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